Saturday, February 26, 2011

Forgive me Nanny, for I have Blogged ("Nanny" being strictly ficticious of course! he, he ..... he?)

I realize the natural course, having just written about my Uncle Don, who was married to my "Nanny", would obviously be to write about her next.  And I have decided to do just that.  But only after some long, hard soul-searching, heart breaking and garlic wearing meditation.

You see.  I love{d} my Nanny, bless her soul (if she had one) (Ooops, did I say that outloud?).  But she was an acquired taste.  Much like hot sauce on a sardine sandwich with a side of  pickles. Very few people liked understood her.  She was what one might refer to as a bitch stoic. 

Oh she could be very funny, quite entertaining and always, ALWAYS, fashionable.  Not a hair, button or crease out of place (they wouldn't dare!).  One might even say she was ........ conceited.
Forever, the Belle of the Ball.

Even if it was someone else's Ball.
Two days after my mother showed her the dress she was wearing to my wedding as the MOTHER OF THE BRIDE...
My Nanny?
Get this.
My Nanny went out and bought a dress The. Exact. Same. Color!
1, 354,980 colors and patterns out there and she chose this one.
Funny thing.  No one was surprised!

That was "Nanny".  And no-body no-thing was ever going to change her.

But she was MY Nanny and I was her grandchild and in our sheltered little moments in time, it was wonderful.

Before I go any further, and while I certainly don't believe in evil ghosts, or people coming back from the dead, or say Satan's bff (whose resemblance to my grandmother is uncanny) casting spells or such, I do want to point out that this post is strictly fictional. (There, pretty sure I've covered my ass *nervous laugh*)
It wasn't until I was much older that cousins, aunts and uncles felt it appropriate enough to discuss things in front of me.  It wasn't that she was a bad person.  In fact, if you were family? As the Matriarch,  she made sure you were treated quite well.  After all, you were her soldiers underlings, her successors, her legacy and, as such, you would be trained appropriately to represent and protect her Kingdom and you would eat and dress accordingly.

In fact, that's what it was.
If I had to put a finger on it.
She had her idea of what was right and there would be no discussion, no debate, no argument.
That was that!

She had this thing about hair.
Actually, looking back.  It would probably be considered an obsession today.
Every time we visited her, could have been twice in one week, she would "trim" our hair.  Bangs were a must, like them or not.  As I type this it sounds a bit "Mommy Dearest" and, quite frankly, is beginning to shed a little light on some of mine and my siblings twitches mannerisms; but, at the time, it was just Nanny.

When she wasn't cutting my hair, she was combing and "styling" it.  Her favorite "do" requiring her to gather all my Nanny-imposed bangs, twiiissstttt them together and pulllllllllllll them waaaaay backkkk with a very pretty, but sharp clip. It didn't hurt, it was far too numb to, so for the rest of the day that's how I wore it, wide-eyed and smiling (two natural side-effects when the hair on the front of your head is bobby-pinned to your butt!)  In fact, I'm fairly certain I am the inspiration behind all those " Mommy, mommy, my pigtails are too tight" jokes.  Only it wasn't pigtails.  I shudder to think what would have happened then!  
Run piggies, run!

Oh! and she sang!
A lot. 
Not at home, or in the shower, or  the church choir.
No that wasn't random enough.
It was usually in a crowded car, or the mall or in the middle of a wedding reception.
Yes, you heard me, a wedding reception.  Apparently she didn't think the band could hold it's own, or perhaps she sensed that they wanted her to sing?! For whatever reason, one second she was sitting at the dais chit-chatting away and the next? Let's just say we still don't know what ninja move she used to get the microphone but it entailed traveling over 3 banquet tables, a set of  drums and an ice sculpture. And before anyone knew it, there she stood belting out the song "Mary", not-so-coincidentally, the brides name.  A song no one had ever heard before, or since. 

If it was raining? "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head";
Easter? "In your Easter bonnet" ...
Don't recall what theme accompanied our haircuts.......
..............................................perhaps "Sweeney Todd"??????

To shave-a da face, to cut-a da hair
Require a grace, require da flair;
For if-a you slip, you nick da skin,
You clip-a da chin, you rip-a da lip, a bit
Beyond-a repair!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Quit yer squirming and get in the dang pot!

I'm going to start with my "Uncle Don".  

My stories!?  

You know the one's I promised you.  The one's that were rekindled when my mother, sister and I started reminiscing?!
Those stories that I dangled in front of you and for which you've been waiting with bated breath?

Oh, I see, you're playing it cool, like you're too busy doing other things that you completely forgot.  Okay, I'll play along...

Nevertheless, I do have a story, more like a summary for you about my Uncle Don. 

For starters, he wasn't my uncle.  He was my grandfather.

Actually, he wasn't really my grandfather either, well not by blood at least.

"Uncle Don"  was my "step" grandfather on my maternal side and in every other sense of the word, having never met my "real" grandfather (who was a wonderful and debonair gentleman I am told)  he fit the bill and then some. 

Let me give you a second to comprehend that.  It can be a little confusing.  I won't even get into the explanation behind my mother's "Uncle Brother", not that I could if I tried.

No, we're not from the Deep South.  
Yes, we do have all of our teeth.  
And, "roadkill" is not the meat du jour.  At least not knowingly.  
We just aren't very imaginative when it comes to naming relatives.  

My Uncle Don was my mother's stepfather married to her mother, "Nanny" that I told you about in my last post who would have been 101 this month...remember now?  He was a living saint, a characteristic that was not only commendable, but necessary in order to be married to "Nanny", trust me.  Suffice it to say, they complimented each other which could only be explained by the phrase "opposites attract".  (Either that or the "medal" he wore around his neck was in fact a shock device, we'll never know).

Uncle Don was a man's man.  The type of man that spit nails, ate onions like an apple and could lift two times his body weight, with one hand massaging "Nanny's" bunyons feet.  This manliness naturally made him attractive to the ladies too, minus the onion breath... and maybe the nails.... .  But you get the idea.  He was not only strong but sweet and handsome.  Not in the suave Cary Grant kind of way, more like the macho  John Wayne style, chiseled, broad features and the bow-legged walk.  He sported a buzz cut that I'm certain could have served as a table it was so evenly chopped, flat.  His skin was hardened from all the sun exposure while working in construction and landscaping (and possibly a side effect of the "shock device").  His voice was deep and hoarse from years of smoking, an innocent habit at that time.

He loved to please.  Your wish, was his command.  If it could be done, he would do it.  My mother often tells of stories where she would show him a picture in a magazine of a bookcase, or built in beds and as if by magic they were built.  Only it wasn't magic, it was skill and planning and determination (and quite possibly fear of the wrath o' "Nanny").  All the other men watched in awe, offering their help when they could, but mostly assisting and observing.  I think about him now as I delve out the money to the contractors....

But he wasn't all work..  Nooo, Uncle Don liked to have fun.  I can picture him now.  Everything from the beret on his head, to the Charlie Sheen style shirt, to his slacks, shoes and socks ALL THE SAME EXACT COLOR! and real colors! like yellow and red... I'd see that now on a man and probably laugh, but on him, back then, I smiled.  Every time.   I think I would have been disappointed if one day he didn't match.  

And he did this dance.  I can close my eyes and still envision it.  Not sure I can do it justice with words.  Kind of like a shuffle-boogie-two-step, that only he could do.  And we laughed.  With him.  Not at him.    It was as though someone was cracking a whip at him and he had to jump to avoid it ...... hmmmmmmmmmmmm. 

Uncle Don  had that kind of invincible Popeye strength that made it even harder to believe when he had died.  But he left an impression so strong you can't help but smile at his thought! ;)


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Warm feet ~ Warm thoughts ~ Warm heart

I'm sitting here in my newly decorated home office, on my newly acquired, yet already favorite,french-inspired blogging chair, just hours after stepping (cautiously tip-toeing really) back into Blogdom.

My Pomeranian is at, well on my feet, sweetly sawing wood while he sleeps.  I had left the television on in the living room when I got up to plug in my laptop thinking I would then return to watch some more, only to get involved in typing, not to mention the whole pup-on-feet detail.

In between the experimental melodies being played on his piano, sorry "keyboard" as he often corrects, and his infectious, intermittent laughing, undoubtedly the reaction to some ridiculously bizarre joke that no parent could possibly understand (or would want to for that matter),  I can hear my son upstairs clearing his throat from a cold that has held on far too long because of the constant punch from this Winter's winds that never seem to cease. 

My cellphone vibrates as it slowly travels across my desk.  It's my daughter texting to say goodnight.  She is staying at a friends house while her family is out of town, because that's what friends do, despite having worked that morning and attended classes well past 8:00 pm. She is twenty years old and still, every night without exception, says goodnight and I love you, not only to her father and I but also to her 16 year old brother, even if he annoyed her that day.  She is a little less consistent with her "11:11 make a wish" texts, phone calls or loud announcements which has become an event with our family, but she tries.  Hey, you never know!  Who am I to pass up a chance to make a wish? 

I've done something right.

My husband isn't here.  But this is not unusual.  He works very hard.  For me.  For our children.  For us. And, as such, is often required to travel for days at a time.  I joke about it some days.  How lucky I am to have my home, my time, to myself.  And.  Sometimes it's less joke and more "Ahhh".  But always, I miss him. 

Every so often there's a jarring thump reminding me of the other four-legged inhabitants of our home, the cats, who find it necessary to run marathons around the house just as everyone else is winding down.

Earlier in the evening I met my mother and sister for dinner.  Call it coincidence or just plain odd (the latter is always a safe assumption), but we all had the same craving and decided, with little hesitation, to meet at a favorite restaurant.  Just the three of us. 

As luck would have it, we arrived just in time to be seated before the crowd, ordered our much-anticipated nachos and wine (yes, surprisingly, they do compliment each other quite nicely) and comfortably ease into conversation.  Mom reminds us that it would have been our Nanny's (grandma nanny, not Mary-Poppins nanny, although she did have a few tricks up her sleeve) 101st birthday which took the natural course and started us reminiscing of days gone by; the good, the bad and the ug-.. actually for purposes of our family, it would be more accurate to replace "ugly" with, oh I don't know, "quirky"?, "peculiar"?, "wacky"? .. all meant endearingly of course, most of which I wouldn't change! 

You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around - and why his parents will always wave back.  ~William D. Tammeus
As you can imagine, the reflection conjured up many different feelings and, lucky for you, or not depending on how you look at it, a few good stories which I intend to share! This blog is, for me, a way of passing and in some ways, freezing time, not to mention a mental activity to slow the course of age-induced stupidity, but if you'd care to join me on my merry-go-round*, I promise always to wave back! ;)

* I feel obligated to tell you at this time that sometimes I suffer from motion sickness.  No worries, just choose a pony behind me.. unless there's a strong wind then you might want to go a few rows back.  I'll still wave though ;)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Getting back on the bicycle.. please run along side me. Just. In. Case. ;)

Removing my sock and poking my {beautifully manicured} toe in to the bath of blogdom, to check if the temperature is right... if the time is right...just a little dip, not a major douche (the water! not me!)

I've been gone a while.   Creepily lurking via Twitter and Facebook, reminding you of my omnipresence in witty snippets of 140 characters or less because that's easy.  That's what she said.  :: waving my imaginary Groucho Marx cigar as I do::

I've been tempted before but, alas, when I sat my little fanny down in my french-inspired blog-writing chair (keep the doubting comments to yourselves, you have no idea what size my tukus is!) and flexed my fingers to promote sufficient blood flow for extensive literary genius, I froze.  A deep humming filled the void in my head where my brain used to be, panic (or alzheimer's) set in and I drew a blank, not literally because if you think about it, really, there is no way to "draw" a blank...

Oh, and I tried. Over and over again, sometimes stimulated by the comedy that is my life, often prompted by other blogs that tugged at my creative juices (you might have another name for it) and frequently always provoked by a glass or 3 ....or bottle of the finest Merlot $6.00 can buy.  To no avail. 

So why now Queen Momma? you ask yourself.  Oh, you didn't?  Well, do it now, I'll wait:

"So. Why. Now. Queen. Momma?"

Ahhhhh, very good question my erudite readers.   (I'll give you a minute to look that word up in the dictionary)..... Done? Ok, I return now because, aside from my running out of rooms to decorate and redecorate (my chosen replacement obsession to fill the creativity void) and my husband's running out of patience with my decorating frenzy, I said to myself:

"Queen Momma," 
Yes, I call myself Queen, THAT's how royal I am ;) ... 
"Queen Momma," I said
"It's time.  You either have to Sh*+ or get off the throne."

Yes, you heard me correctly.

I said "   S. H. Asterisk. Plus sign! "

I was tough on myself.

It was the only way to be! 

"It might not be easy.." I went on.

"Much like riding a bike.  The wheels will be wobbily at first.  You might be too lazy tired to do it very often in the beginning..." I continued...

"But you've got to take the bull by the horns, take the bit between your teeth, dive in with both hands......"

Wow, I never realized I was so long-winded.  Shut up already Queen!!!!

And, for now, that is what I am going to do.  Shut. Up.  With the threat promise that I am back.  Not sure of a posting schedule, or topics or anything other than that I missed it (and you!) and I'm back.  [almost sounds like I had some sort of consistency before, doesn't it? :) ]
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

*p.s.  I have received fabulous reports from the Dr. and feel terrific!
         To quote him: 
                       "If I didn't know better, I'd think you were normal!"  
                                                              ~ Boy, have I got him fooled! ;)

My latest decorating project, my home office :)
Where all this genius happens! lol